Spotlight Interview with Juan Aguirre who heads up hospitality and MDU solutions for CommScope across EMEA & Carl Weldon, Chief Operating Officer Europe for HFTP (Hospitality Finance and Technology Professionals) & Paul Nisbett, Finance Director & Dale Nix, Consulting Director, Avenue9







Speakers Photos: Juan Aguirre, Carl Weldon, Paul Nisbett, Dale Nix & Bryan Hammer

What do you hope attendees will gain at your webinar?

Juan – After several exuberant years we expect that the current disruption will accelerate certain changes at multiple levels. Whether from the way buildings are designed, an increased desire for modularity and flexibility, sustainability concerns through to technology and data scalability and possibly a different global working and travel environment, we hope our attendees will come out of the webinar with their own take on where the industry is heading.

Carl – A view of what is or may be possible for Hotels and Technology –  that they have perhaps not considered previously…

Paul – Hopefully, they will think about how everything has changed, what will tomorrow look like and how we have to adapt to technology and social distancing.

Dale – At least one or two areas in which Hospitality as a sector must change or adapt in order to overcome the current crisis and prepare for the next.

Bryan –  Insight and ideas how different companies have not only reacted, but also been proactive in dealing with the current crisis.

What discussions do you look forward to having with the attendees?

Juan – Most importantly their thoughts on the evolution of the industry. We may very well see a change in working and travelling behaviours with greater home working, less urban concentrations. Do our attendees see this as a challenge or an opportunity

Carl – The varying angles of today’s Hotel Models and types – and the influence that technology can have on these.

Paul – How do they see brands introducing technology that helps cost mitigation and not just marketing tools

Dale – How will travel as an industry recover? What if it doesn’t recover in the short term? Will the COVID-19 crisis be the proving ground for some technologies (video conferencing, particularly) to finally supplant face-to-face meetings? What impact will social distancing have on group travel and can webinars and virtual conferencing replace real-world/physical conferences?

Bryan – Interesting ways worker behaviours will change (or already have changed) in the long term as remote work is adopted at scale, and ways IT has been put in the spotlight to enable a global remote workforce.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Juan – I have a privileged role delivering converged technology solutions that extend across the lifetime of a property- from the core infrastructure of the building through to active network components as well as data solutions. So whilst I enjoy the convergence of the technology more importantly I enjoy the convergence of the people that make up this industry and in particular their passion and dedication.

Carl – The varied people from all across Europe that I meet – both hoteliers with different challenges and Vendors to the industry with differing and amazing Technologies to sell – all providing a really interesting mix of debate and opinions – and it is always very entertaining when we get the all together at a HITEC.

Paul – Being a part of the development of Valor as a Hotel Management company and continually challenging the way we do everything to drive efficiency’s.

Dale – Being able to work closely with our wide range of clients to see how each take their core operational or “utility” systems and use them in varying ways to create USPs.

Bryan – Working in a perfectly sized company with amazing products in fantastic locations, a great team to support me and the freedom to really drive IT strategy. The travel is not bad either!

How did you get into the industry?

Juan – By accident! I was recruited over 16 years as a product manager for a hospitality integrator after a start-up I was working for ran into difficulties. At the time I thought it would be short term till I found a “real” job. Since then it appears that I have checked into hospitality and will never check out!

Carl – I was born in a Hotel so not much choice. My parents ran hotels so I grew up in them – it is in my blood. I started actually working as a Hotel Porter (Concierge) at age 14. I was a Hotel (304 Rooms) FC at 22.

Paul – Straight from school, studied Hotel management and then joined Forte as a graduate.

Dale – I started in airlines but my desire to live and work in the UK pushed me into Hotels, for at that point in time, my employer rescinded their expat programmes. In 1993 I joined Forte Hotels in Boston for 18 months and subsequently transferred to New York before finally making it over the pond to London; and I haven’t looked back!

Bryan – In 2000 I took a job as IT Manager for the Westin Resort on St John in the US Virgin Islands. It wasn’t so much to get into hospitality, it was rather a way for me to experience living on a small tropical island living the beach life, which lasted 7 years and took me all over the Caribbean and introduced me to my wife.

Where is your favourite place in the world and why?

Juan – There are many and choosing a particular one would do an injustice to the many amazing places I have been to. A favourite place is often determined by the place itself and the people that make up that place. However I would say my heart sways between the small quiet villages and mountain roads behind Nice France and the Andalucia region of Spain with stunning scenery and rich history.

Carl – Anywhere along the Maine Coast in the USA. The views, the seafood, the harbours, the fresh sea air, the ‘quaintness’.

Paul – St Maarten, have an amazing time with the family there when they were really young.

Dale – It often changes, but right now, it would be the Turquoise Coast of Turkey. I have a home in Fethiye and would have been there the first two weeks of April, but for the COVID-19 pandemic; I am having withdrawal symptoms from the sun, beach, food and views.

Bryan – Les Contamines Montjoie, France. In the summer it’s a great place to access the trails of Mt Blanc for running and hiking, and in the winter for skiing.

Join Juan, Carl, Paul, Dale & Bryan on a webinar entitled Facing rapid change: Survival of the fittest? by Commscope on 14th May at 3PM London / 10AM New York.

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